After 25 years of service on the bench, Hon. Doris Ling-Cohan is retiring as Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Term, First Department. For over 20 years, Justice Ling-Cohan has also been a dedicated member of the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission and is responsible for many of its initiatives. Her career is one exemplified by service to others and a dedication to ensuring diversity and racial and ethnic fairness in the courts. The people of the State of New York and the legal community have been greatly enriched because of her service.
Justice Ling-Cohan is the first woman of Asian descent to be appointed to an appellate panel in New York State and in 2002 became the first woman of Asian descent to be elected to the Supreme Court. Justice Ling-Cohan was elected to New York City Civil Court in 1995 from the Chinatown district, a first for that community. In 2005, ten years before the U.S. Supreme Court, she became the first trial judge in the state to decide in favor of marriage equality in Hernandez v. Robles. During her career, she has given opportunities to hundreds of diverse interns, ranging from junior high school to law graduates. A number of them now work for the court system.
A former law professor, Legal Services managing attorney, and assistant attorney general, Justice Ling-Cohan received a B.A. summa cum laude from Brooklyn College in 1976 and a J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1979. Justice Ling-Cohan is a founding member of the Asian American Bar Association; the Jade Council, an organization for court employees of Asian descent; and the New York Asian Women's Center, the first organization to focus on preventing domestic violence in New York City's Asian communities.
She served on the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates, the Chief Judge’s Judicial Advisory Committee and currently serves on the International Affairs Committee of the New York City Bar, the Dispute Resolution Section of NYS Bar Association and is a Commissioner on the Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission.
Recently, the Historical Society of the New York Courts interviewed her as to her trailblazing career. She was recognized by the National Law Journal as one of its Outstanding Women Lawyers, nominated by the New York Post as a finalist for its Best of the City Liberty Award, recognized by National Asian Pacific Bar Association with its Women’s Leadership Award, and recognized by Brooklyn College with its Distinguished Alumna Award for her service to New York City as well as her advocacy for immigrants and non-English speakers' rights.
The Franklin H. Williams Judicial Commission wishes Justice Ling-Cohan all the best in her future endeavors, which will include continued service on the Commission, mediation, consulting, and work as a member of the National Adjudicatory Council of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).